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WE WANT TO WORK: 'We must ensure that no potential is wasted'
1:00pm Saturday 22nd September 2012 in News
‘Getting people into work is my number one priority, which is why I’m happy to support the Oxford Mail’s ‘We Want To Work’ campaign. Having people in work is good for the individual, good for their families and good for the local community as a whole.
So by working together with local businesses and doing all we can to stimulate growth, we can ensure that no one’s potential goes to waste.
This month’s national unemployment figures were welcome news. With a rise in employment and a fall in unemployment, they show that British businesses deserve great credit for continuing to create jobs even in these tough economic times.
In Oxfordshire too, the number of people claiming unemployment benefit is at its lowest level since 2009. But we are not complacent.
We know there is still a lot to do and we will continue to work hard to create the conditions for businesses to grow and provide people with the support they need to get back into work.
Jobcentre Plus currently has nearly 5,000 vacancies on their books for Oxfordshire.
So it is vital we make sure jobseekers in the area have the right skills which local employers require.
Nowhere is this more important than for young people who may lack the skills and experience they need to get their foot on the first rung of the careers ladder. That is why we introduced the Youth Contract, which hugely increases the amount of work experience and apprentice opportunities available for young people.
It gives 18-24 year olds the chance to do up to eight weeks of work experience while keeping their benefits.
This provides a vital opportunity for young people to learn new skills and show potential employers what they are capable of.
And because we know times are tough for businesses, we want to make it easier to employ and train young people.
That is why we are offering cash payments of up to £2, 275 for employers to recruit young people from the Work Programme. I would like to encourage businesses in Oxfordshire, be they big multinationals or small family businesses, to take advantage of this and give a local young person the chance to show you what they can do.
But obviously it is not just young people who need our help. That is why we introduced the Work Programme, which is the biggest employment programme this country has ever seen.
It is designed to prevent people from becoming long term unemployed and, importantly, providers and charities are paid on the basis of the results they achieve in getting people into work, and keeping them there.’